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Referee Darren Drysdale caused a lot of controversy Tuesday night after he appeared to face Ipswich Town midfielder Alan Judge in a 0-0 draw with Northampton Town.
Referees are generally known for their endless patience and ability to overcome spirits on the football field, but one man let the heat of the moment hit him during this rather stale affair on Portman Road.
Judge was enraged by Drysdale’s decision not to award him a penalty and lunged for the referee, only for the man in the middle to welcome the showdown, towering over the number 18 and bowing his head towards the footballer’s.
This moment of absolute madness unleashed scenes of panic on the field, with players who did not know who to turn to to calm things down. Fortunately, Northampton man Lloyd Jones was on hand to defuse the situation, pulling the referee away from his target and separating the enraged duo.
Midfielder Judge was later booked by Drysdale.
Speaking after the game, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert said the incident “must be analyzed,” questioning the official’s judgment.
“It should have been a shame for Judgey [Alan Judge] in the end but it is a business of results.
“It is necessary to analyze the aftermath of that incident.”
It really was a rare moment in football league history, and one that is hard to come by in the modern game. Drysdale’s firm stance drew comparisons to famed referee Pierluigi Collina, who was known as one of the best referees in the sport, and one who did not take the nonsense of players on the field seriously.
Drysdale has a long way to go before he’s regularly mentioned at the same time as Collina or Premier League icon Mike Dean, but he rose to fame with these feats on a boring night in Suffolk.